Topic | "Better Late Than Early" approach

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  ruth 4 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • mrsmccardell

    I got this from the library because someone mentioned this book by Raymond and Dorothy Moore a few weeks ago.  It’s nice that it supports what I already felt but couldn’t nec. back up as to why I felt this way.  Of course, it’s one-sided so there may be other books out there citing studies of why we should educate earlier than later.  Either way, I agree with the better late than early.  

    My question is how do we handle this approach when we have testing standards and state laws that might say otherwise.  For example, we live in PA and while I don’t have portfolio experience/testing experience yet it’s rather intimidating.  We are starting slowly with my daughter (6.5) due to special needs but when it comes time for 3rd grade testing I feel we’ll barely have covered the material that may be on the test.  Special needs or not, how do you handle it if there is material on the test that isn’t part of the CM curr yet?  And are there any consequences if they bomb the tests?  I hate testing if it isn’t already obvious to you!  Thoughts?


    First, does your daughter have documented special needs? If so then the testing requirement may be changed, adapted (give helps during the test to accomadate her needs), or even waived. I’m not in PA so I don’t know.

    We’ve done testing here in Ohio for some of my kids, especially the last few years with the many things going on for Mason and pregnancy. It’s easier to take the test than to keep track of portfolio materials and make sure each child is ‘producing a paper trail’. Look at your laws! In Ohio the child must have a composite test score at or above the 25th percentile is considered to have passed successfully and the state may not intervene. Yes, that is a failing score in essence. So even if you have a child with a really weak area or several, if they are average or strong in a few areas you’ll still come out with a composite score that meets the law requirement in Ohio. Again, I don’t know what the specifics are in PA.

    In Ohio we can do our testing privately at our own expense (which we do), so the school is not ever involved and the only thing I ever show them is the composite score, not scores in individual sections of the test. We can also have our testing done at the local schools for free on their testing schedule.

    And I think testing is completely worthless too, but it is a way to obey the law in my state so we do it.


    Hello, fellow PA resident here.  You are only required to provide test results for language arts and math for testing in grades 3,5, and 8. We’ve done the Terra Nova testing so far, which is all multiple choice. This makes it easier than some others, though you will want to look into the other testing options (I think there are 10 approved in PA). I don’t know about getting special testing allowances, but keep in mind that the testing results will be only one element of your portfolio. You will have samples of work showing progress throughout the year, as well as your evaluation report.  You can choose your own evaluator, so ask around and find one that understands your situation and is on your side! You will want to find out from other local homeschoolers how the homeschool coordinator/supervisor in your district handles low test scores. This person has the final say, and can ask for additional documentation if they are unconvinced that your child is making “satisfactory progress”.  I think this is quite uncommon though.  My son had math scores at the 50th percentile and lower in both 3rd and 5th grade and it was never any issue at all, even without mentioning any possible disability in that area.  


    I spent many years giving and evaluating standardized tests in my teaching career (I trained in Special Education), and I think most people greatly misunderstand them.  We are not required to give tests in my province, but I think it would be important to know what the district does with the scores.  What is considered ‘low’?  When do they ‘intervene’?  Does there have to be a pattern of low scores, or does one low score ring alarm bells?  Does the district do anything with the scores at all?

    Percentile scores are very different from percentages. Tristan mentioned that 25%ile is a failing score in essense.  Perhaps the test Tristan is talking about is different, but in every test I’ve ever administered, 25%ile is actually considered average (although on the low end of the ‘average’ range).  The percentile is a ranking out of one hundred.  So, a score of 50%ile means that if 100 students took the test, 50 would score worse than you, and 49 would score better (you are the last one, to make 100).  The ‘middle’ 50 students taking the test are numbers 25-74 (with 25 above them and 25 below).  So if you score 25%ile to 74%ile, you are in the middle half of the group, and thus are considered average.  Below 25%ile is below average, and sometimes the scores have ranges that are called ‘below average’, ‘fair’ and ‘poor’ or something similar (with similar labels for scores from 75%ile and up – above average, excellent, etc.)  25%ile doesn’t mean you know 1/4 of the material, or that you got 1/4 of the quesions correct.  It’s all just how you rank with everyone else.  There shouldn’t be any talk of a problem unless the student scores significantly below the 25%ile.  This is where I assume each district will make their own distinction about when they are ‘concerned’ enough to take any type of action with a certain child.  

    Again, each test is different, and I can’t see yours, so I can’t give you absolute information, but that just brings me back to my original statement: find out what will be done with the results.  Unless a low score is going to jeopardize your ability to teach your child in the way you want to teach, then don’t worry and continue on as you were!



    Thank you for your comments. I just spent the last hour reading up on the PA state laws. The compulsory age for PA is 8. It’s also up to the parent to submit age versus grade. My concern is that my kids will be required to test at age 8 considering most 8 year olds are in 3rd grade. Is that true for any of you in PA who registered their 8 yr old? If not, when did they test?


    I think that even if you registered your 8 yo, you could still opt to place them in 2nd grade and avoid testing for a year.  Do you have some specific concerns regarding the test and your child?  



    I am not sure if you would be interested in this, but i will put it out there.  We have to start testing next year as well and I have been worried about it.  I still get the cataloges from the Critical Thinking Co.  They have a new product called Thinking Skills for Tests.  It seems to be about how to think about the questions logically to figure out the answers you don’t know. 


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